Andrej & Andrej is an experimental Slovakian studio founded by two guys called Andrej
After meeting at university, the graphic design twosome have since been working seamlessly across identities, websites, fonts and illustration.
- Ayla Angelos
- 23 June 2020
Andrej & Andrej is a collaborative studio founded by two guys who are both named – you guessed it – Andrej. Headed by Slovakian designers Andrej Barčák and Andrej Čanecký, the duo work seamlessly across all corners of the cultural sectors. The studio's client list brims with brands such as Nowness, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Public Defender of Rights, Energy Manifest Conference, Tatra Banka, Slovak National Library and Flaam Festival among many others.
Both Andrej’s come from artistic backgrounds; Andrej B, for example, has a grandma who used to design logos, while the other’s parents are visual artists and teachers. Then, it was during art school at the entrance to their exams that they’d met for the first time. “But if we hadn’t met there,” Andrej B tells It’s Nice That, “we would have met at the other school we both applied for, which was toy design. Damn!” Andrej Č also recalls this meeting, where he’d been worrying about whether or not he was going to pass his tests. “I was completely stressed out,” he says, “when suddenly some kid raised their hand and asked an utterly irrational question. That boosted my confidence and I thought, ‘hopefully there’s more people like that in here’. That kid with the question was Andrej.”
After this inevitable introduction, the duo joined forces on school assignments and realised just how well they worked together. But before going out on their own to start up studio Andrej & Andrej, they first moved into a flat together and gained some industry experience. “We quickly realised that part-time work in a graphic studio or advertising agency is pretty much a full-time job, and with full-time university we were basically working day and night shifts,” says Andrej Č. “We gradually discovered each other’s strengths and were able to divide our workload in two, so that was done quicker and better.”
Now, the duo split their workload between skill-set. Andrej B, for example, takes on more layout-based work like books and publications, websites and visual identities, whereas Andrej Č gravitates towards illustration, font design, lettering, photography and video. Thriving on meeting new people through their work – whether it’s designers or architects – the founders are keen to deep-dive into a project and take things out of their comfort zone. Andrej Č adds: “I think that design should primarily be functional, and its form should adapt to the content. But I’d be lying if I said we don’t adapt the content itself sometimes.” As such, they work from assignment to assignment, shifting and evolving as they go.
As of late, Andrej & Andrej has continued to work on their five-year long collaboration with Flaam, a boutique music festival based in Nitra, Slovakia. Working on the visual identity, the duo liken the brief to a playground, for there has been much room to experiment. “It’s great fun and a solid base for weird ideas, such as a series of 22 avatars and illustrations for 22 artists as the main element of Flaam 2019’s design,” says Andrej B. A busy and highly creative concept, each year has seen a mix of posters, tape and fonts come together to form its playful identity – an example of which is last year’s influx of merchandise, a t-shirt printed with every visitor’s name on the back and ticket scratch cards. “People could win stuff such as an extra ticket, a beer, a lit cigarette from one of the organisers… or also nothing,” says Andrej B. “In 2018, we replaced the traditional festival poster with tape, which had the entire line-up and info on it, and at the same time functioned as ordinary duct tape – a must-have item when putting together a festival.”
In the near future, Andrej & Andrej are set to “slowly” finish up a project that had initially launched a year ago. Working on the visual identity for the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in time for its 70th anniversary, the school sought out a publication that would map its history. With a “relatively free hand,” says Andrej B, they decided to build a concept that incorporated the school’s logo: a deer. “We adapted it to different historical periods,” he continues. “It underwent modifications and reductions, down to a simplified version of just the antlers ‘as designed’ in 2015.” Next was a series of logos that were placed into the book. “This mystification was received well, and so now we’re competing the identity for its full usage” – which includes a custom font and a new website. Andrej Č finally adds: “And we’re looking forward to that!”
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.